The Associated Press reports:
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad, said this week he supports Democratic legislation that calls for most troops to come home within a year.
The remarks will be aired Saturday, as part of the weekly Democratic radio address, and right wing blowholes will undoubtedly begin emitting noxious fumes about General Sanchez hating America. Let the facts speak for themselves: General Sanchez was there; he knows what he’s talking about; the gasbag pundits sit in hermetically sealed sound studios spewing lies.
The legislation, passed by the House, blocked by Senate Republicans, and threatened with a veto by Bush, would have paid for further combat operations, while setting a goal to end combat operations by the middle of next December. It wasn’t even a hard demand to end combat operations, but even just setting such a goal was too odious for the chickenhawk warmongers of the Republican Party.
The Pentagon, of course, announced on Tuesday that they will begin laying off up to 200,000 civilian employees and contractors, unless Congress passes a bill Bush will sign. Nice framing, that. What the Pentagon really means is that they will start laying off 200,000 civilian employees unless the spoiled brat Bush gets his way.
General Sanchez takes a certain blaming-the-victim angle to his explanation, pointing out that our troops are sacrificing life and limb for an Iraqi government that continues to fail to govern. Of course, after blowing their country all to hell, failing to repair the damage, and inciting a civil war, while the majority of foreign fighters entering the country to add to the mayhem come from our ostensible allies, it’s probably not the easiest thing in the world for the factions of our puppet government to settle millenia-old differences. Even so, there’s also a pragmatic realism to the general’s comments, for the Iraqi political leaders are continually failing to meet the benchmarks that are supposed to measure their progress. They are, in fact, not doing the job our troops are supposedly there to give them a chance to do.
“There is no evidence that the Iraqis will choose to do so in the near future or that we have an ability to force that result,” he said.
Sanchez added that the House bill “makes the proper preparation of our deploying troops a priority and requires the type of shift in their mission that will allow their numbers to be reduced substantially.”
Meanwhile, the cost to our troops has once again been revealed to have been understated. USA Today reports:
At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY.
The data, provided by the Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the Pentagon’s official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327.
There’s not much more to say, except this: end the war and bring the troops home!